• Industry

Restored King Kong At LACMA

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has always believed that preserving the world’s film heritage is a cultural mission of vital importance. That’s why film restoration efforts have always featured prominently among HFPA grants allocation. That mission continued this year with a donation of $350,000 to the Film Foundation, which was accepted at the HFPA’s Installation and Grants lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel by Steven Spielberg. Considering that half the American films made before 1950 and 90% of films made before 1929 have been lost forever, film preservation has never had a more urgent need. The Film Foundation, which director Martin Scorsese founded in 1990, has been at the forefront of film preservation. The nonprofit organization provides substantial annual support for restoration and preservation at the nation’s leading film archives. Instrumental in raising awareness of the urgent need to preserve films it has helped, with generous donors such as the Hollywood Foreign Press, to save more than 545 films. This “hands-on” preservation ensures that these great films, which are, not only works of art but historical records and essential representations of our culture will survive for future generations. Since first contributing to The Film Foundation fifteen years ago, the Hollywood Foreign Press has become a major supporter, donating more than 3 million dollars which have contributed to the preservation of more than 75 motion pictures by such noted directors as Stanley Kubrick, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir and John Cassavetes. Other preservation and restoration partners include the UCLA Film & Television Archives and The Film Noir Foundation which this year received a $10000 grant from the HFPA to further its stated mission of “rescuing and restoring America’s noir heritage”. Donations from the HFPA in 2004 helped restore one of 1939’s Best Picture nominees, Lewis Milestone’s “Of Mice and Men”, as well as Jean Renoir’s 1951 classic, “The River.” HFPA grants also contributed to the restoration of Orson Welles brooding 1948 version of “Macbeth”, the 1948 classic The Red Shoes, Nicholas Ray’s “Born to be Bad” from 1950, Otto Preminger’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955), Melvin van Peebles controversial, ”Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” (1971) and Robert Altman‘s Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean. The association between the HFPA and The Film Foundation continues with more recent preservation efforts dedicated to such landmark films as Elia Kazan’s “America America” and Michael Curtiz’s high-voltage 1950 drama “The Breaking Point”. Tonight at 7:30 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will present the original 1933 “King Kong”, that’s Merian C Cooper’s historic original version with Fay Wray, in a copy restored in collaboration with Warner Bros. and funding by the HFPA. We recently had a chance to talk to a big King Kong fan, Peter Jackson (who directed his own version of the epic in 2005). Check out the video here!